Cold Email Templates, 56 Elements & Examples that Get Responses and Sales in 2018

Will Cannon
June 11, 2018

There’s no faster way to get a prospect’s attention than outreach. The question is, how do you make great cold email templates that grab attention and generate a response?

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to make great email templates. We cover best practices, attention-grabbing subject lines, and copy that will compel your prospects to respond.

If you’re looking for a way to create appointment-generating cold emails, then this guide is for you.

First Thing’s First: Cold Email Best Practices

Getting attention through cold email can seem like a scientific practice.

Luckily, there are proven elements to make your cold email more likely to succeed.

But before digging into the elements that make great templates, it’s important you understand these outreach best practices first.

Knowing these foundational principles will help you understand each technique we teach you in this guide.

Furthermore, it will empower you to build your own cold email templates to generate healthy response rates in the future.

#1Short-but-sweet Subject Lines

Your subject line has one goal:

Get the email opened.

You’re going to be competing with hundreds (if not thousands) of other emails in your recipient’s inbox. To get past the noise, you need a simple and clear subject line.

If you force prospects to work hard and think what your email is about, it’s likely they’ll hit the “trash” button. Therefore, you must use the subject to a) get to the crux of the email and b) entice them to open it.

At UpLead, we keep subject lines simple. As a result, we’ve seen open rates of 78% and beyond with two-word subject lines.

Ben Sardella, Chief Revenue Officer at Datanyze, puts it simply:


“Now keep in mind, whatever the rest of your email includes, it won’t matter if no one actually opens your email, so the subject line is critical. Ask yourself: What would it take to make you open a cold email and read the first couple of lines?”
Ben Sardella Quote
– Ben Sardella, Chief Revenue Officer at Datanyze.

Keep your subject line simple and to the point. Outline the pain you’re trying to alleviate or personalize in a simple manner.

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#2Get to the Point Quickly

Many salespeople (and marketers alike) still begin their emails by talking about themselves.

The problem is your prospects don’t know you yet… and they don’t care. Details about who you are should be saved for your signature.

Nowadays, most email clients preview the first line of the email within the inbox tray, which looks something like this:

image1

Use this “inbox real estate” by getting straight to the point. Talk about them, not your product, brand or credentials.

You can do this by saying how you found them, e.g. “I was checking out your LinkedIn profile and thought this could be of value to you.”

If you can’t do this, simply focus on the problem that your value proposition solves.

#3Be Prepared

Do as much research on your recipient as possible. This is the digital equivalent of doing your homework before showing up to a meeting.

Look into each company you’re reaching out to and make it clear how your solution can solve their pains.

Even better, look at the digital footprint of each prospect. Are they creating content, or have they recently been featured in the news? Mention this in your outreach to add relevant personalization.

You can scale this by segmenting different companies by their pains. Create different templates based on company challenges/job titles etc. (or use the templates below).

#4Keep it Brief

Long emails can be a turn-off to many executives.

Yes, some may appreciate having lots of information to help them make a decision. But in most cases, shorter is better.

Use a maximum of five sentences. Any more and you may begin to see your response rates drop.

As you’ll soon see, you can maintain brevity by using a framework to guide your copy. For example:

  • Sentence 1: How we found them, and that we think we can give them some value
  • Sentence 2: A little about who we are and what makes us unique
  • Sentence 3: Closing CTA (schedule a call or demo etc.)

Get to the point and make it easy for the recipient to respond.

#5Show Some Credibility

Just because you shouldn’t open with your credentials, doesn’t mean you should forget about them altogether.

What can you do to make your recipients trust you? Have you worked with businesses just like theirs? Or perhaps you’ve been featured in well-known industry publications?

Name-dropping might seem like a humble-brag. But when writing cold email templates, it shows you have a track record in your industry.

#6Warm Up Your Cold Leads

Cold emails don’t need to be completely ice-cold. You can warm up leads before you even send the first email.

This can even work for blogger outreach. As Adam Grunwerg says, even a simple retweet goes a long way:


“Retweet [the influencers’] articles or compliment their work before tweeting them from your personal (not brand!) account. Provide a teaser for your content, and ask them permission to send them an email. They will appreciate the courtesy.”
Adam Grunwerg Quote
– Adam Grunwerg, Partner at Investoo Group.

Find out where they “hang out” online and engage with them there. Follow them on social media, comment on their content, and join conversations within the communities they’re a part of.

When your email lands in their inbox, they’ll recognize your name as someone who got involved with what they’re doing. Not some random sender.

#7Add Personalization

This is a huge topic in the sales space. Iris Shoor, CEO of Oribi, puts it best:


“One of the most basic tips when it comes to blogger outreach is to personalize your email. Not only is there a better chance you’ll hit what they’re looking for but you’re also communicating that you’re interested in their blog and not sending the same email to 50 different bloggers.”
Iris Shoor Quote
– Iris Shoor, CEO at Oribi.

While personalization has quickly become standard best practice, right now it provides a competitive advantage.

In the past, personalization meant adding “first name” and “company” variables. Now, it can be defined as “customizing your message as close to the challenges and desires of your prospect as possible.”

Some people do this one-by-one, writing tailored introductions for each recipient. While this works, you’ll receive an equally lucrative response rate by scaling the process.

Put your prospects into different categories and tailor the message to each group. Create several templates for each group instead of writing to each recipient one-by-one.

This provides a scalable outreach approach while maintaining an element of personalization.

#8Include a Simple Call-to-Action

Many salespeople like to get specific with their calls-to-action.

It looks something like this:

This is risky, as it invites the recipient to say “no.”

Instead, first find out if there’s interest, get the response and then figure out a time. From here you can figure out logistics.

Try “Is this of interest?” or “Would you like to learn more?” as a softer way of gauging interest.

#9All Contact Info in Signature

Having your full business address in your signature shows credibility. It’s also a legal requirement.

Include your name, job title, full address, and even a phone number to build more trust. This also takes care of the challenge of not talking about yourself in the introduction.

#10Second Chance P.S.

Some people may skim your email all the way to the bottom.

This is an opportunity to get their attention with another call-to-action or to summarize the contents of your email.

You could even include a P.P.S. with links to secondary information (or content higher up the funnel).

#11Always Follow Up

This one is simple: if you don’t get a response, follow up.

Many salespeople think that because they don’t get a response, the recipient isn’t interested. In reality, they might be too busy to respond right now.

But if you bring it back to their attention, you have a second chance to get their attention.

I recommend no more than three to four follow-ups. Any more and you risk coming across as a pestering salesperson.

Be liberal with timing between each follow-up. Here’s how we space our own follow-up sequences:

  • Follow up #1: three days after the previous email
  • Follow up #2: five days after the previous email
  • Follow up #3: seven days after the previous email
  • Final follow up: 12 days after the previous email

As you can see, the pause gets longer as the sequence progresses. Give your recipients a chance to respond while respecting that they’re busy, or even out of the office.

#12Always Be A/B Testing

You’re not always going to hit a home-run on the first try.

If you have thousands of contacts to reach out to, you may want to test your cold email template on a small scale before rolling out to your entire list.

Test out different pain points in your message. See which challenges resonate the most with your target audience.

And be sure to always test in the long-term. Small tweaks to the subject line, call-to-action, and email copy length can yield big results.

#13Watch Your Stats

The old saying “what gets measured gets managed” is a cliche for a reason:

You can’t improve, optimize, and report back on something when you don’t know if it’s working.

Keep an eye on all relevant statistics, including open rates, click-throughs, responses, and opportunities won and lost. This will help you direct every stage of your cold email campaigns – from targeting all the way to calls-to-action.

Now you know what makes a great cold email, it’s time to look at different elements and techniques for you to incorporate into your own campaigns.

21 Killer Cold Email Subject Lines

The first job your cold email must succeed with is getting opened.

Without a good subject line, this won’t happen!

Subject lines are the first building blocks we’ll look at. You can implement and test these frameworks and templates for your own campaigns.

1.“Quick question”

As mentioned earlier, short subject lines work incredibly well.

The “Quick question” subject line gets attention and piques interest. But don’t use it if you don’t intend to ask a question. Remember, misleading subject lines are not only unethical but lead to the trash without hesitation.

2.“Hi {First Name}”

Another short, simple, and effective subject line. If you’re wondering whether or not it works, take it from Ben:


“Although there is much debate about adding names in the subject line, I find that if my name is in the subject line, I’m going to open it. For example, I received an email with this subject line: Ben, loved your tweet yesterday. I’m going to open this, because I am now wondering which tweet they are talking about.”
Ben Sardella Quote
– Ben Sardella, Chief Revenue Officer at Datanyze.

If you don’t have anything compelling to put in the subject, then lead with a salutation.

Then, get straight to your introduction within the body of the email.

3.“Any interest?”

Perfect for follow up emails. If you don’t get a response to your second email, try this.

It’s short enough to grab attention if they haven’t opened your email already. And if they recognize your name, it means getting straight to the point.

4.“Do not open this email”

When someone tells me not to do something, I want to do it even more.

5.“Try to avoid [thing]”

This email talks about a pain to avoid. Maybe they’re already aware of the problem, or perhaps it’s something they’re not yet aware of.

Either way, it’ll pique their attention enough to open your email.

6.“So, you do [skill]?”

Get personalized and mention something your prospect is good at. Simply head over to their LinkedIn page to grab a skill they’ve listed out.

Even better, take a theme or topic covered in the content they create.

7.“Might be off-track here, but…”

This shows empathy while pulling at the curiosity strings. They’ll never learn what the email was about just by looking at it.

“Calling yourself out” is a great cold email technique and one we’ll cover later in this guide.

8.e.e. cummings

Use a subject line without any upper-case letters. It stands out in an inbox full of “Capitalized Subject Lines That Look Like This.”

Why “e.e. cummings?” Because the great poet himself often wrote his name all in lowercase characters.

9.“Who is in charge of [role] at [company]?”

If you’re not sure who to reach out to, find out using your subject line. Approaching prospects as if you’re a curious student, rather than an “expert,” has been proven to boost engagement.

10.“[Person] recommended I get in touch”

Word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful growth lever around. The same principle goes for cold email.

If someone has recommended you, then use this name-drop in the subject line. If the recipient trusts the referrer, they’re likely to open the email fast.

11.“Congratulations on [achievement]”

Like the “skill” subject line, this one requires a little digging. But everybody loves to be flattered, so it’s well worth it.

This is especially effective on follow-up emails. Use this subject line to keep prospects warm whenever you come across news about them or their company on social media and in digital news.

12.“The problem with [thing]”

This one elicits curiosity while getting to the point at the same time. Make sure you use a problem that’s relevant to your value proposition.

13.“Hoping to help”

Forget about pushing your agenda on to prospects. Focus on adding value instead. This subject line gets to the point in your intentions.

The next step is to use the email copy itself to remove doubts and ease skeptical minds.

14.“[Name], do you have five minutes?”

Asking for the meeting before the recipient has even opened is a gutsy move. But some people prefer directness.

This subject line sets the intention right away, but beware: it only works if the email itself is well researched and doesn’t come across as spam.

15.“I’ll cut to the chase”

A meta-subject line, as it gets to the point about getting to the point. This removes the unsettling nature of uncertainty while building curiosity.

16.“How was [event]?”

Looking at building connections on the expo and conference circuit? Follow-up with them right after the event using this relevant subject line.

Your email copy itself must be personalized to the context of how you met. Call-back to the conversations you had, the challenges they expressed, and how you think you might be able to help.

17.“Will you be at [event]?”

Use this subject line before an event if you suspect a target prospect will be attending.

Even if they don’t respond, they’ll recognize your name on the speaker/exhibitors list. Then it’s just a matter of letting their curiosity lead them to you.

18.“10 mins, [date]”

This is a simple, short-but-sweet take on the meeting request subject line from earlier. Remember, you must get straight to the point in the email copy itself.

19.“A new [approach] for [company]”

Blend the benefits of your value proposition with personalization to quickly answer the question “what’s in it for me?” Speak directly to their pain-points from the start to get your email opened.

20.“Your [metric] target”

Whoever your prospect is, they’re held accountable by one form of pressing KPI or another. Use this by talking about the challenge of achieving this goal in the email itself.

21.“Hey”

At UpLead, we love short subject lines.

Replace “Hey” with the recipient’s first name, a keyword relevant to your offering (e.g. “cold email”), or the benefit you’re hoping to provide them with (e.g. “10x leads”).

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19 Cold Email Template Elements

So, you have a killer subject line.

And you’re confident that your email will get opened.

Now comes the hard part: getting your prospects to respond.

And that’s where your cold email template comes in. By using compelling, relevant, and personalized copy, you’re more likely to get the attention of your prospects.

Each element addresses one (or more) sentences that we covered earlier:

  • Sentence 1: How we found them, and that we think we can give them some value
  • Sentence 2: A little about who we are and what makes us unique
  • Sentence 3: Closing CTA (schedule a call or demo etc.)

Here are some killer cold email elements you can swipe right away:

1.The LinkedIn Opener

When opening your email, include a reason why you’re emailing. It doesn’t matter how innocuous that excuse is as long as it’s there.

The LinkedIn opener is one of the simplest:

You can replace LinkedIn with “Twitter,” “Facebook Group,” or even “AngelList.”

2.Talk About Your Product

Or, you could cut right to the chase.

Busy people don’t want to waste their time and would rather know if something is of interest to them quickly.

At UpLead, this is how we do it:

3.State Why You’re Better

In the example above, not only do we say what we do, but we also compare our solution to a competitor’s.

Be specific about why you’re better. Only use a comparative benefit/feature that the prospect will truly care about.

4.The No-Brainer CTA

Earlier, I mentioned why including a “soft” call-to-action is key when generating a response. This works even better when you take away some of the friction while you do it.

Adding a no-brainer incentive, as Sasha Galkin agrees, will lead to more clicks of the “reply” button from your recipients:


“Dish out a whopper incentive. Give them a reason to pay attention to the rest of your email.”
Sasha Galkin Quote
– Sasha Galkin, Copywriter at MRM//McCann.

“Dish out a whopper incentive. Give them a reason to pay attention to the rest of your email.”

This is how we word it:

Not only am I simply asking if they’re interested, but I’m also stating there’s no risk to them. This, along with the three elements above, is why we enjoy a 24% response rate.

5.Finding Contact-Challenge-Fit

This one should be used with the “Who is in charge of [role] at [company]?” subject line mentioned earlier. In this case, [role] may be replaced by [challenge].

Before getting into the meat of your email, start with an introduction like this:

Here, you set your intention (reaching the right person) while including relevance (stating the challenge you wish to talk about).

6.Personalized Congratulations

When using a subject line that congratulates your prospect, ensure every part of that email is relevant to the news.

For example, if they’ve recently secured a round of funding, you could follow-up like so:

It’s simple flattery. But it works wonders as a follow-up strategy. To drive home the importance of personalization (no matter how specific), Matt Gratt, Head of Growth and Wikibuy, puts it best:


“Good outreach emails are personalized.  And I don’t just mean ‘successfully got the name and website right’ – those are table stakes to get taken seriously. When I say pitches should be personalized, I mean they should be read by the recipient, and the words ‘form letter’ should never cross their mind.”
Matt Gratt Quote
– Matt Gratt, Head of Growth at Wikibuy.

7.The Persona Opener

Great cold email templates meet at the point between personalization and scale.

Yes, templates are important. But you should always find ways to personalize them.

In the case of the “Persona Opener,” you’ll address their role and the challenges that come with it. For example:

Us sales and marketing folk are savvy, and we know a trick when we see one. But we appreciate the extra mile. This is a simple way of going there.

8.Post-Event Opener

If your first touch-point was face-to-face at an event, use this:

9.Pre-Event Opener

If you’re on the event circuit to generate leads, it’s wise to warm up leads in your target accounts before you approach them. Try this opener:

10.Praise Your Prospects

With LinkedIn becoming the popular hotspot for B2B executives everywhere, it’s likely your prospect is creating content themselves.

If you like what they’re putting out, tell them in your initial cold email:

11.Content Compliments

Give praise for the content your target company is publishing – regardless of who within the organization published it.

12.Show Them The Value

Don’t just tell your prospects the benefit of what you offer. Take a statistic directly from a case study.

Even better, make it a company that’s just like theirs:

13.Casual Competitor Swipe

So, you’ve identified a competitor client you want to sign up.

But there’s a right way and a wrong way to “swipe” them.

Here, it’s important to maintain a casual tone. You don’t know anything about the client other than they’re doing business with a competitor.

14.Humor Ignition

We’ve all been there. We thought a prospect was certain to close, and then…

Static.

But fear not, there are ways to re-ignite these stale leads.

One of the best ways is to add a little humor. Specifically, calling back to something you talked about during your initial conversations.

15.Share (The Right) Content

Trying to find a relevant way to stay in touch can be tricky. If your company is creating relevant, persona-driven content, then half the work is already done.

Even better, if your marketing teams regularly write for reputable publications, then you can piggyback on this credibility.

16.Make Them the Guru

When sending cold emails, we’re all too often ready to offer our advice.

But people love talking about what they’re good at.

Follow this simple formula:

  1. Find them on LinkedIn
  2. Look at their content/skills
  3. Find something relevant to your value proposition
  4. Reach out for their advice

Here’s an example in action:

This is a great first step to building a mutually-beneficial relationship.

17.Social Media Call-Back

One of the best practices I mentioned earlier was turning a cold lead into a warm one.

But there’s a right way and a wrong way to execute this. It’s not good enough to simply comment on their content and then reference it in your email.

To cut through the noise, you need a two-way conversation.

This takes patience, but is well worth it:

Doesn’t that sound more familiar? As Elise Musumano says:


“The quickest way to win someone over is to show how much you have in common.”
Elise Musumano Quote
– Elise Musumano, Product Marketing Manager at SEVENROOMS.

18.The Soft CTA

Many salespeople ask for an exact date and time when looking to make the appointment. It’s likely they’re not free “at 11 AM on 16th June EST.”

And by doing this, they’re already saying “no” in their mind.

Instead, hook them in gently and take it from there. “Inside sales” is common practice these days, and they know you want to set up a call.

Do this instead:

This question is much easier to say “yes” to.

19.Ask for Preferred Communication

“Soft” calls-to-action are always better than suggesting an exact date and time.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be assumptive in some way:

4 Awesome Cold Email Examples

You now have everything you need to create response-generating cold emails.

To wrap-up this guide, let’s look at some examples from the field.

These are from brands who have nailed the execution of their cold emails and have generated great response rates as a result.

Don’t copy them word-for-word. Use the elements provided here to lead you. You’re more likely to see success and create an email that best fits your voice.

1.The “24% Response Rate” UpLead Email

This is the exact script we use to generate a 24% response rate from our own cold email efforts (including follow up).

We like to keep things simple and to the point:

The simple call-to-action works. It gets to the point and generates responses like this:

Cold Email Templates - Response

2.VideoFruit’s $3,000 Contract

Bryan Harris, founder of VideoFruit, used this script to generate a $3k monthly deal:

There’s so much going on here. First, Bryan personalizes by mentioning the fact he’s a client. Then, he name-drops someone everybody knows in the business (KISSmetrics).

Then, he provides proof with an example, making it super easy for the prospect to check out his work. Not only that, but he adds value up front by showing an example tailored to the prospect’s company.

Finally, he wraps it all up with that “soft call-to-action.” You can’t get much more personalized than this.

3.Securing Appointments with Takipi

Selling Takipi’s value proposition can be tough, as it requires installation on live servers. This is a fact that causes friction among developers.

But despite this, they still managed to generate five appointments from their initial cold email efforts. Here’s the script they used:

image2

This works so well because it gets to the point on what they do, why the recipient should care, and why it’s relevant to their company.

And they’ve done their homework — they know the company runs on Scala and sent them to a relevant landing page.

Finally, to drive the personalization home, they dropped a mention about the prospect company’s GitHub projects. This shows they’ve paid attention while using a scalable, to-the-point approach.

4.FullStory’s Animated Email

Sometimes, it’s much easier to show a prospect what you can do for them instead of telling them. This next example is from a brand who took this concept literally.

Kyle Racki from Proposify received this next example from FullStory.

In it, they didn’t just talk about their platform and its features. They showed how it would look in action as if it were on the Proposify home page.

image3

The image itself was an animated GIF, which immediately grabs attention. The copy itself was brief, but it included a link to see the full video including commentary.

This is a great example of how creativity can overcome objections and quickly grab attention. Figure out different ways you can use visual content to communicate your benefits.

It doesn’t need to be animated, but it must be relevant to the prospect.

Your turn!

In this guide, you’ve learned about cold email best practices, as well as the building blocks to create your own super effective outreach emails.

Now it’s your turn:

What breakthroughs have you made when reaching out to prospects? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

While we have your attention

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